man looking at microsoft forms vs forms pro dilemma

As a user or consumer of Office 365, you are likely aware that one of the available services you get is Microsoft Forms (MS Forms). MS Forms provides a friendly, simplistic interface to design and share forms using various questions, types, and includes some nice branching logic. 

As of 7/1/2019, Microsoft announced the availability of Microsoft Forms Pro—the “Pro-fessional” version—but what does that mean? What’s the difference between the two? 

Microsoft Forms vs Forms Pro

The biggest difference between MS Forms and Forms Pro is Forms Pro puts all the enhanced features into sharing and analyzing surveys. Forms Pro does little for question types, but where it shines is how you share your form and what you can do with the responses. In addition, you can integrate Forms Pro with the Power Platform and use dynamic data in the questions and emails. 

Let’s compare the two, screen by screen, to highlight the differences between MS Forms and Forms Pro

1. Forms Become Surveys with Response Analysis in Forms Pro

When you open MS Forms, you get a “New Form” and “New Quiz”:

Microsoft Forms Landing new quiz new form

In Forms Pro, the display changes to "New Survey" and "New Quiz":

Microsoft Forms Pro Landing new survey

The rest of the differences really build on this fact. To help put things into perspective, read the first sentence of Getting Started with Forms Pro by Microsoft:

Microsoft Forms Pro is an enterprise survey capability that helps businesses obtain the feedback they need to make smarter decisions.

  • MS Forms will let you build forms for general purposes, get feedback, generate QR codes, and other nice features. 
  • Forms Pro enhances your capability to create surveys, automatically send those surveys based on triggers, build customized email templates (more on those shortly), and advanced response analysis. 

Form Insights and Analytics

In MS Forms, you get basic response analysis:

Microsoft Forms Responses

Simple, and you can export to Excel, but nothing too earth-shattering. Forms Pro gives us something a bit more exciting:

Microsoft Forms Pro Responses

Whoa, now that’s a lot more. Remember how I said Forms Pro is all about surveys? You can review all of the responses seen in the report below:

Microsoft Forms Pro Responses Detail

 (Looks like Power BI to me) 

Plus, you are able to dig further into the insights:

Microsoft Forms Pro Responses Sentiment Insights

You can also view the details of how the invites are tracking:

Microsoft Forms Pro Responses Sentiment Detail

I love it when awesome just happens and I don’t have to do anything but watch and learn.

2. Robust Sharing Enhancements with Forms Pro

Sharing experiences also differ between the two form applications. 

In MS Forms, you have basic form sharing options:

Microsoft Forms Sharing

You can share a link, get a QR code, embed the form on a page, or send an email. When you click the email, it pre-populates a message in your Outlook with a sentence of text and link. 

Forms Pro, on the other hand, displays an entirely new interface:

Microsoft Forms Pro Sharing

Yes, you can still embed the form, get a link, and a QR code, but the cool stuff is in the email. Forms Pro provides an email template builder that allows you to customize the message with placeholders and dynamically insert data (e.g. a client’s name). 

You can send emails from here or set them up to send automatically:

Microsoft Forms Pro Send Email

Conveniently, the email automatically uses the logo from your form. You can also create templates and insert placeholders for data called "variables:"

Microsoft Forms Pro Variables

This screenshot will become important later so keep in mind the name variables... 

3. Forms Pro Surveys Are Personalized

With MS Forms, you can do things with the response data like write to a SharePoint list or Excel after you receive each response. But, the important difference here is the data collection happens after the form response is submitted. Another significant difference is you cannot dynamically insert any text in emails or the questions like you can in Forms Pro.

Microsoft Flow

With Forms Pro, you can hook into the power of Microsoft Flow to easily send people customized email templates based on a trigger (i.e. request to fill out the survey). This is extremely powerful. For example, whenever the status of a SharePoint issues list goes "Closed" or when a lead gets qualified in Dynamics 365, you send the client a survey

With Forms Pro, this is just a few mouse clicks and completely trackable. Remember those variables I mentioned earlier, "First Name" and "Last Name"? 

 Microsoft Forms Pro Integration with Flow

You fill in those data points here in the Flow with dynamic values and the email will populate the receiver's name from Dynamics 365. Yes, you could build out everything by hand utilizing multiple actions without Forms Pro, but it's way easier to use a single action. 

Question Builder

The same name variables can be used in the question builder. Variables allow you to make your questions very targeted and dynamic to keep the survey in context and specific to what you are trying to gather information on:

 Microsoft Forms Pro Personalization Question

Summary

Now that you know the key differences between Microsoft Forms and Forms Pro, do you need Pro? Ask the question: "Do I need advanced functionality to send surveys, analyze those responses and automatically send those forms based on a trigger?" If you answered yes, then Forms Pro is for you! Again, most of this could potentially be done without Forms Pro by manually exporting the results and building Power BI reports then manually creating emails in Flow, but why would you?

Microsoft Forms and Forms Pro are just the tools; the question you ask is far more important than the tool you use to ask it. Contact C5 Insight to learn more about how to effectively Rate Your Intranet